Ten employee recognition ideas for the retail sector

great customer serviceIt’s no secret that the retail sector suffers from poor wages and high staff turnover. Low morale and demotivated staff can lead to unhappy customers, whereas research tells us that a happy, motivated workforce is linked to satisfied and loyal customers, which leads to business success.

How do you motivate your employees so that your customers have a positive experience and keep coming back to your store? Below are ten ways you can boost employee recognition in your retail store:


1. Recognise achievements and contributions promptly

It is important that rewards respond to the behaviour they intend to reinforce. Recognise the achievement quickly and don’t let too much time pass between the action and the presentation, or the reward will not have the positive impact that that it should have.


2. Get to know your staff

Your employees are individual human beings; so encourage managers to get to know their team members personally. Having a boss who is interested in you personally can be very motivating. And once they know what motivates their employees they can incorporate this knowledge into their recognition and reward strategy.


3. Make work fun

There will always be tough days, especially during the Christmas shopping season. Create some fun activities or games such as ‘training session bingo’ or ‘sales snakes and ladders’. Employees will remember the fun times and it can make the difference to someone considering leaving.


4. Think little perks

Non Monetary Rewards


Little perks, such as bringing in a massage therapist to give 15-minute chair massages for all staff, can give a big result. That’s because they allow employees to brag about them to their friends, family and co-workers.



5. Pay it forward box

Even if you don’t have a formal peer to peer recognition programme, encourage your staff to notice the extra effort and contribution their co-workers put in with a pay it forward box. Employees just put a note in the box when they see something and the notes can be regularly read out and displayed. You can also give a small reward such as a £10 gift card to the employee whose effort was seen.


6. Provide development opportunities

Give your employees opportunities to develop themselves and their careers. This doesn’t have to be attending expensive training courses; it can include things such as attending a conference or industry event and reporting back on it. The ability to learn new things and socialise with industry peers can be very motivating.

Download our guide to reward and recognition

Reward and recognition guide

This guide will assist programme managers to develop a scheme that will improve the performance of your people, engage them and make best use of your available budget.

Click here to download


7. Give them time to spend with their family

Not every employee wants to participate in a group activity so when a customer mentions how helpful they’ve been, give them a reward they can use with their family, such as a gift voucher for a restaurant or day out.


8. Organise an employee appreciation event

Annual employee recognition award ceremonies highlight employees’ achievements and can be tax-free up to a spend of £150 per employee per year. Encourage people to dress up for the event and use it to recognise individual and team performances.


9. Encourage store managers to do something creative for their team

Small acts of appreciation are remembered and talked about for weeks, so once a month get store managers to do something fun for their staff. This could be simple things like wash the windscreens of their cars or bring in afternoon tea and cakes.


10. Pennies in your pocket

pennies in your pocketGet managers and team leaders to put five pennies in their pocket at the start of each shift and before the shift ends hand each one out along with a sincere compliment or gesture. You can also instruct that employee to pass it on if they want to.



John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.
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